When you start interviewing, you’re bound to run into one question over and over again. I’m sure you can take a guess, right? “Tell me about yourself.” It’s the one you probably dread the most, because as a new grad, how do you answer it. And today, I’ve got The New Grad’s Guide to That Question and how to answer it.
Before my break, I talked about creating a ten-second pitch. If you haven’t read that and worked on yours, you’ll want to do that before you start tackling the question. In your ten second pitch, you briefly mention where you graduated and what you want to do, or have done.
For instance, when I do my ten-second pitch, I mention that I have social media experience (thank you blog!). Ideally, I’ll land a job somewhere in social media, but I’m open to public relations and advertising, since those were my concentrations in college. Social media is just what I know best.
The New Grad's Guide to That Question Click To Tweet
Now, how do I build an answer off of a fraction of a ten-second pitch? I think about it before the interview.
1. Know the Job You’re Applying For
Every job description will have specific keywords. You don’t have to mention those in your answer, but keep them in mind. How I answer for a job in public relations is different than when I answer for a job in social media.
For example, in a public relations interview, I’ll talk about my experience in Priority One last semester. In Priority One, I helped coordinate events, acted as a liaison between a Houston news anchor and Priority One, and how the team created a communications plan for the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.
When I do social media related interviews, I mention Priority One (I was in charge of the Facebook page, and I made the suggestions on social media for the communications plan), but most of what I focus on is the blog here. I also mention an internship I did this past summer, where I was in charge of finding content and writing messages for a variety of companies (I did work for a brewery and a nonprofit, just to name a few).
2. Mention Where You Are Now
I debated putting this one in here, just from a general interview point. If you are working, you have to be careful to not sound negative. It’s a fine line to walk, but make sure while you’re looking for a job, you are doing something. I always mention that I’m writing the sequel to my novel. More than anything, this is something people find interesting.
3. Mention What You’re Looking For
This is your time to show your interest in the job. When I interview for social media jobs, I always mention I’m looking for the experience in social media, and looking to learn. You’re new, and you’ll have to be able to show enthusiasm for the job.
4. If You’re Forgetful, Take Notes
During an interview, I constantly take notes. Sometimes I’ll say something I like, and I’ll write it down so I have it to reference for the next interview, whether that’s with the same company or a different one.
5. Practice Beforehand
“Tell me about yourself” is a question you will get. It may be worded a bit differently, but you will get this question. Practice the answer beforehand. Practice won’t make perfect, but the more you practice, the more familiar you’ll be with your answer. When nerves kick in, and you’re a little scatter brained, you’ll be able to fall back on instinct when sharing your answer.
Everyone hates answering this question, but when you’re a new grad, it’s even tougher to know what to say about yourself.
Do you have any tips for answering your big question?